Wearing Face Coverings – from w/c 15 June 2020

From Monday 15 June 2020, everyone must wear face coverings when using public transport and visiting hospitals. For public transport, there are certain exceptions, but you will need to visit www.gov.uk for further information.

The health and wellbeing of patients and staff remains the top priority for the NHS with infection prevention and control (IPC) key to how we are handling the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic in our hospitals.

Evidence has shown that people infected with Coronavirus can have very mild or no respiratory symptoms (asymptomatic) and can transmit the virus to others without knowing, so it is important that we take immediate steps to stop the spread of coronavirus in hospitals.

Following an extensive evidence review, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has made recommendations on the extended use of face masks by NHS staff in hospitals, as well as the use of face coverings by visitors.

These recommendations ensure that all staff in clinical and non-clinical roles wear face masks at all times when not in places that already require PPE. This includes areas which are staff only, as well as public areas.

Visitors and patients coming to hospital for planned and outpatient care will also need to wear face coverings when in hospitals to further reduce risk. Face coverings can be made of cloth and be reusable in line with government guidance on the use on public transport.

These recommendations are in addition to existing national Coronavirus IPC guidance which advises on appropriate PPE usage in patient facing clinical settings and other measures to be taken to reduce transmission risk such as hand hygiene and social distancing.

Information for patients

The guidance also recommends that all visitors and patients coming to hospital for planned care (outpatients) wear face coverings at all times.

Face coverings are different to face masks in that they can be homemade, made of cloth, and be reusable. If a patient or visitor does not have a face covering when they come to hospital, a face covering or mask will be provided by the hospital on arrival.

Patient information on the changes being implemented across the Trust will be made available and communicated to our patient forums. New facility posters will also be posted at all entrances to the hospital to advise of the requirement for a face covering to be worn.

It’s important that we continue to communicate clearly and consistently with patients – both to reassure them that everything is being done for their safety, and so they understand what they need to do when they are coming to hospital.

When booking patients to come to hospital for planned care (outpatients), it is important that the requirements for a face covering are clearly explained during the booking and confirmation process.

People infected with Coronavirus can have very mild or no respiratory symptoms (asymptomatic) and can transmit the virus to others without being aware of it.

In line with recent recommendations from the World Health Organisation, we are introducing new measures in Doncaster to keep visitors, patients, and staff safe.

From Monday 15 June 2020 you will need to wear a face covering when you come to hospital as a visitor or outpatient.

What does this mean for me?

We can all play a role in reducing the spread of coronavirus and keeping our hospitals safe. If you are coming to hospital as a visitor or for planned outpatient care, it is important that you wear a face covering at all times. This is for your safety and the safety of other patients and staff.

Face coverings can be cloth and/or homemade, and advice on how to wear and make one can be found on the government website. Face coverings worn as part of religious beliefs or cultural practice are also acceptable, providing they are not loose and cover the mouth and nose.

We are asking that you plan in advance and bring a face covering with you whenever possible, but if you do not have one available when you come to hospital, please see a member of staff on arrival and we will provide you with one.

If you are currently shielding and have been provided with a surgical face mask for your appointments, please continue to use this. If you have not been provided with a surgical face mask, you should wear a face covering.

For some people, wearing a face covering may be difficult due to physical or mental health conditions. In these instances, other measures will be considered on a case by case basis, for example timed appointments and being seen immediately on arrival.

If you are a deaf or hearing impaired, our staff have a range of communication options to ensure that they can communicate effectively with you. This might include the use of clear masks where possible, as well as visual aids such as writing things down, speech to text apps and sign language.

All visitors will be expected to comply with existing social distancing and hand hygiene measures in addition to the face coverings while in the hospital setting.

These new measures for staff and patients will further help to reduce the risk of transmission of Coronavirus in hospital settings.

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